Questions to consider before investing in an owned media platform strategy

Around half-a-decade back, I was at a conference, when I stumbled upon a brilliant talk by Sangeet Paul Choudary, author of the book Platform Revolution. While his major thrust during the talks was on platforms such as Uber and Nike+ etc., I felt there were inspirational tangents which could be drawn with an owned media platform created for reputation management by a brand.

In his latest report, The State of Platform Revolution, Sangeet notes, “New value shifts are being driven by shifting customer needs and behaviours on the demand side, increased value chain uncertainty on the supply side, and a reversal of many of the trends that have defined pre-pandemic globalisation. Competitive positions, likewise, are more vulnerable during such shifts, spelling out both promise and peril for executives. Variously referred to as ‘the new normal’, ‘the big reset’, and with other such elaborate monikers, the emerging landscape will be characterised by the emergence of new value pools and the erosion of existing ones.”

What’s the objective?

It’s not surprising that owning an owned media platform is becoming an important part of the overall reputation management strategy at leading organisations. It is definitely a buzzword. Albeit, I have come across discussions where the objective of investing in an owned media strategy is because it’s a bandwagon one can’t miss. This is a myopic view of the power of owned media platform, and futile attempt at mining value out of platform that’s born with a misplaced objective.

Owned media platform must have clear and definite long range and mid-range objectives. Is it for aura building, community creation, achieving business objectives, creating a safety net, among various other goals that you can lay down? Unless this is defined, the strategy shall always be in a wobbly mode. The journey is great, but the destination is equally important.

Owned media platform is a game of long-haul. Look for alternative solutions if you have a planned a build-gain-and-exit strategy for your owned media platform.

Three years back, when we decided to launch Design Dekko, an owned media platform by the Godrej Group in the space of architecture and design, we had one clear objective in mind: Community building.

We had several businesses who were engaging with the AID (Architecture and Interior Design) community, but in silos. This was also the period where several established architecture and design media publishing platforms were facing tough times, and in parallel there was a trend of the design influencers and Key Opinion Leaders adopting social media platforms to engage with their audience.

There were definite gaps in the market, and a huge opportunity to create and nurture a community of design influencers. In the last two years, Design Dekko became a community that comprises of 60,000 community members without any inorganic promotion.

Therefore, once the objective is set, map the resources you will need at operational, monetary, technical and personnel level. Here is what I recommend you to assess before investing (monies and resources) on your owned media platform.

10 questions you must reflect upon are:

  1. What’s the personality, vision and mission of this platform?
  2. How much investment would you need to establish and sustain the platform?
  3. Do you want to internalise the operations? Or outsource it?
  4. If you want to internalise the operations, do you have availability of talent and bandwidth?
  5. How many resources and manhours every week will be invested on to the platform?
  6. How much investment would you need every month to promote the content generated?
  7. What would be the source of content? What would be the mix of organic versus branded content?
  8. Would there be advertisement on your platform?
  9. What’s your data and privacy policy?
  10. Would the content be user generated, co-created or full controlled?

These are few fundamental questions you need to ask before planning for an owned media. In no way am I claiming that is an exhaustive list you need to consider. However, it does help you in drawing up a plan before jumping on the bandwagon.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Supreeth Sudhakaran
Supreeth Sudhakaran is Deputy General Manager in the Corporate Communication and Brand Team of Aditya Birla Group. He was earlier associated with Godrej Industries Limited, leading owned media platform - Design Dekko, research-driven narratives, hybrid media engagement, and brand communication mandate for the Godrej Agrovet Ltd.

Supreeth is a journalist by education, he started his career working as a desk editor at the digital arm of the Dainik Bhaskar Group. He later worked at senior editorial roles with several leading general and trade media publications such as the Indian Express Group, IPP Media India, Haymarket Media Group, and Geospatial Media, writing and editing stories on various niche subjects including marketing technology, printing, packaging, publishing, and geospatial science. His first stint as a communication professional was with India’s largest PR firm, Adfactors PR Pvt Ltd., before moving to his current role.

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